Best New Author (Discovered by Me) in 2015

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Best New Author (Discovered by Me) in 2015

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Editat: des. 12, 2015, 10:54pm

I'm willing to bet my kid's inheritance that most LTers are enthusiastic seekers-out of new writers, either debut authors, or authors they've discovered for the first time in their reading lives.

Am I right?

Of course! So, being nosy, too, I'd like to know who your newest enthusiasm is. Looking over my list of books read this year, here are my choices, ranked from bottom to top. In other words, writer #1 is my 3rd place choice and writer #3 is the best of all.

Hope at least one of these fine writers is new to you, too, and that you'll seek out the title below, or another by them. You won't be disappointed!

3. Mai Jia, Chinese, Decoded: A Novel

2. Lily King, American, Euphoria

1. Richard Flanagan, Australian, The Narrow Road to the Deep North

Honorable mention goes to debut novelist, Elsa Hart, American born in Italy, for her historical Chinese murder mystery, featuring exiled librarian cum detective, Li Du in Jade Dragon Mountain.

Please tell me of your find so I can have the pleasure of "discovering" more worthy unknowns-to-me in 2016.

Editat: des. 12, 2015, 11:49pm

Anna Kavan was the best "new" author I finally discovered this year. Wish I'd have found her work years ago. Her last novel Ice was better by far than any other book I read this year. Amazing book. I'm still reeling from it. Asylum Piece and Other Stories was hard to beat too.

Danilo Kis has been another "new" writer I finally got to this year. The stories in The Encyclopedia of the Dead were profound.

Richard Kadrey was a great "new" discovery too. His first novel Metrophage was the best first novel I read this year. Even his so-called "disappointing," critically dismissed, second novel, Kamikaze L'amour, had a lot going for it, I thought.

des. 13, 2015, 6:00am

This will sound dreadfully self-serving, but my favourite new writer is me.

Due to the stress of working retail, I had to quit my job or have a heart attack (quite seriously), and I decided to become a freelance writer. Guess what? I'm getting work. This past Friday I had the best day, when I discovered that out of all the writers being interviewed for ghost-writing a memoir, that they chose ME. I'm going to write someone's book - and I'm so excited.

Also, I have one job where I'm writing travel articles about Singapore. The closest I've been to Singapore is Los Angeles, so this should be fun. In the department of surreality, the man for whom I'm writing the articles lives in the Ukraine.

My apologies for my shameless answer.

des. 13, 2015, 6:44am

>3 ahef1963: Congrats on the ghost-writing gig!

Authors I read for the first time this year and quite enjoyed: John Dos Passos, Langston Hughes, and Arthur Conan Doyle. Yes, it took me this long to get around to Sherlock! Anyway, I have several hundreds of books waiting to be read, so I really never go seeking out debut authors.

des. 13, 2015, 9:36am

Favorite discovered authors of this year -- where "discovered" means not just that I adored the book, but I was driven to find everything else they wrote.

Magdalena Tulli for Dreams and Stones

Mariama Ba for So Long a Letter

Li Qingzhao who I found by way of a translation from Kenneth Rexroth. I'm now on a binge of reading his work as well.

Ta-Nehisi Coates for Between the World and Me, a book that I think should be read by everyone who thinks that everyone should read To Kill a Mockingbird.

John Eliot Gardiner for his biography of Johann Sebastian Bach, Music in the Castle of Heaven -- although to be fair this book sent me more on any odyssey of Gardiner's music and his work with the Montiverdi Choir than driving me to read all his other books.

des. 13, 2015, 1:20pm

My favorite discoveries this year:

W. Somerset Maugham - I loved both The Painted Veil and the short story collection The Trembling of a Leaf.
Wallace Stegner - Finally got around to Angle of Repose. It will make my top 5 reads list for this year.
Children's nonfiction author Jean Fritz - I loved Brendan the Navigator so much that I continued with the few other of her books available in my library.

des. 14, 2015, 8:59am

This topic is right up my alley, since I was trying to tackle many classic or popular names I hadn't gotten to yet.

In 2015 that included William Faulkner, Timothy Findley, Homer, George Elliot, James Boswell, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Albert Camus, Chinua Achebe, Terry Pratchett, Muriel Spark, Oliver Goldsmith, Anne Tyler, and James Hilton. My favourite in that whole bunch was probably James Boswell when I think about it, which surprises me.

If 2016 goes according to plan, I'll read my first by Vladamir Nabokov, Wallace Stegner (Angle of Repose!), Haruki Murakami, Charles Darwin, Katherine Ann Porter, Daphne DuMaurier, and P.D. James. At least.

des. 14, 2015, 12:57pm

>5 southernbooklady:

Ta-Nehisi Coates for Between the World and Me, a book that I think should be read by everyone who thinks that everyone should read To Kill a Mockingbird.


I didn't gain any great new favourites this year, much as I enjoyed my reading. I suppose Iris Murdoch is the most famous or well known or significant writer whose work I'd never read before 2015.

des. 18, 2015, 12:37am

The best author who was new to me in 2015 is Nevil Shute. For some reason I had thought he wrote pot-boilers and page-turners, but I was very wrong. On a recommendation from an LTer, I read Trustee from the Toolroom in May of this year, and since then I've been back for five more:

In the Wet
A Town Like Alice
Pied Piper
On the Beach
Most Secret

I liked all of them and gave a handsome five stars to both A Town Like Alice and On the Beach. Of those two, the former is by far the cheerier, but on reflection I find that there's a sweetness to the latter that I'm at a loss to account for.

There are still quite a few Shute titles left, and I expect over time to make my way through most of them.

des. 18, 2015, 11:15am

>9 Meredy:
Pied Piper is one of the most humane novels written about one of the most inhumane times in history. Shute has been a lifetime favorite of mine, an author of books who focuses on what uncontrollable BIG events mean to the "little guy," or as is probably a more accurate moniker, the "common man."

des. 18, 2015, 6:02pm

>9 Meredy:
>10 Limelite:

Also a fan of Nevil Shute.
Favorites are A Town Like Alice, Trustee from the Toolroom and Pied Piper.
I have Landfall and the Chequer board on the TBR shelves to get into sometime soon.

des. 19, 2015, 4:11am

>9 Meredy:, >10 Limelite: & >11 nrmay: I just read On the Beach this year and quite enjoyed it, I am going to keep an eye out for a few more of his works.

The other one that is new to me this year but I am enjoying is Tony Park. I am currently reading Safari.

Editat: des. 24, 2015, 10:51am

I read over 50 'New to Me' authors this year and found some real gems. Some might not be what you would call great authors, but I really enjoyed them. In no particular order they were:

Norbert Davis
Don Winslow
Chester Himes
Conn Iggulden
Adam Sternbergh

des. 25, 2015, 2:45pm

>13 mysterymax:

They're all new to me, too. How did I miss Himes' books? Must correct deficit.

gen. 1, 2016, 5:45pm

I've just done a little survey of my reading year and come up with 30 authors whose work was new to me (not counting Early Review authors):

Authors new to me in 2015: 30

Judyth Vary Baker
Max Barry
Louis de Bernières
NoViolet Bulawayo
Jim Butcher
Deborah Crombie
Pamela Erens
Richard Flanagan
Kent Haruf
Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen
Suki Kim
Lily King
E. L. Konigsburg
Craig Lancaster
Erik Larson
John le Carré
Hyeonseo Lee
Taigen Dan Leighton
Sasha Martin
Peter Matthiessen
Iris Murdoch
Naomi Novik
Rosamunde Pilcher
Phyllis Rose
Casey Sherman & Dave Wedge
Nevil Shute
Robin Sloan
Jun’ichiro Tanizaki
Michael Taylor
Benjamin Wood

Some of those were one-shot authors (e.g., Baker, Lee), and some were definitely one shot for me; I won't read them again (e.g., Crombie, Sherman & Wedge). But most I'd want to see again, and some I'm already actively following (e.g., Butcher, Shute).

Here are the ones that I liked the most. To me, "liked" doesn't mean "best." When I rate a book, I try to go for "goodness" rather than measuring how well I liked it; but for this list, my standard is enjoyment. I would happily read more of their work.

Jim Butcher
Kent Haruf
Iris Murdoch
Rosamunde Pilcher
Nevil Shute
Robin Sloan

Editat: gen. 2, 2016, 1:13pm

>15 Meredy:

Great list! Did you discover Flanagan via "Road Deep North"? What a rare original book, no?

if you like Haruf (as do I), you may find similar things to like about Doig (if he's new to you). I also discovered a one-off author, as far as I know, who writes nearly as well as those two. I rec A Dignified Exit by John J Asher. Another Western writer of lyrically beautiful and tinged with tragedy novels is Robert Olmstead. Breathtaking and devastating in its complex simplicity (will make sense if you read it) is Far Bright Star. A perfect gem of a small novel.

Shute's been a favorite of mine for a lifetime, like Maugham. What a pair of pure story tellers! I've heard of Pilcher. but looking at her books in the library -- and she occupies a vast space there -- I've self-censored myself from selecting any for some reason. Is it the cover art? Is it her titles? Or is it my intolerance for the romance genre that has stopped my hand?

Anyway, I wish you a happy new year of discovering more great new writers to you in 2016!

gen. 2, 2016, 3:30pm

>16 Limelite: Thank you. The Flanagan title I read was Gould's Book of Fish. I had mixed feelings about it: I thought it was good, but I didn't like it very much (review). (I felt much the same way about Euphoria [review].) I'll probably read Flanagan again, but I didn't rush to seek out another title.

I did like Haruf's Plainsong (review), and I can see the comparison to Doig. I'm keeping them both on my radar.

The Murdoch was Under the Net (review). I ought to have come to Murdoch a long time ago, and I will be going on.

As for romance novels, I feel the same as you. They make me gag. This one by Pilcher sneaked around me both by being recommended to me just when I needed something warm and gentle and also by not really being a genre romance as I understand them. I would unapologetically recommend it even to readers who generally prefer salt to sugar (review). I've been advised to read just one other of hers (Coming Home) and then stop.

I've read five other Shute novels since my first, and I'm glad there's still a long list ahead.

Editat: gen. 19, 2016, 8:38pm

I hope this thread cuts both ways. I have just carried home a book from the library by “author” Will Self.

It has rave reviews on the back cover from all the usual media outlets.

It appears to contain the sweepings off the press-room floor, with no punctuation, paragraphs or page brakes for 466 pages, from cover to cover. Do the reviewers really read these books?

ETA: When I say 466 pages, I think it is unlikely that the publishers would have managed to number the pages correctly.

gen. 20, 2016, 9:43am

>18 SpikeSix:, given the LT author page rates Will Self at 3.36 overall, I'd guess most of LT tends to agree with you.

gen. 20, 2016, 10:19pm

>18 SpikeSix:

I'm thinking Will Self will not be on your "best list" for Jan. '16.

Hope you're irritated enough to start a new topic in our Group: "Worst New-to-Me Authors -- January '16." Would like to see some curmudgeonly posting amongst all our sweetness and light.

gen. 21, 2016, 3:49am

>19 Cecrow: >20 Limelite:

The other side of the coin is the my discovery of Ian McEwan and Robert Kurson recently. Balanced against the gems these real authors offer - the lemons soon fade away. I'll make them my touchstone for 2016 reading. The idea of a Mr Grumpy thread appeals.

gen. 21, 2016, 10:33am

>21 SpikeSix:

If I may suggest, how's about you riff off your user name? It's pretty good.
As in "Stick. . .with Spike," or some such punishment.

gen. 21, 2016, 3:33pm

>9 Meredy: On the Beach, as downbeat as it is, has a current of nostalgia running throughout. The characters carry themselves with a certain sense of nobility in the face of, well.. what they are facing. The general 1950s feel of the narrative is what lent it that air of 'sweetness' for me. Sort of a bygone era type of thing...

I dunno, maybe I'm just feeling melancholy due to being cast adrift by the Shelfari shutdown... ;)

gen. 21, 2016, 4:24pm

For me it would have to be Stuart Neville, a writer of very intense crime thrillers from Northern Ireland.

Editat: gen. 22, 2016, 4:30am

>23 ScoLgo: Coincidence?? I am re-reading On The Beach at present. It is one of Nevil Shute's I come back to from time to time. It is beautiful.

Shelfari? Yep, it is ironic that LT will benefit when it does not deserve to. Still .. .. We still got leafmarks.